Whole Life Offering Book Excerpt 1 of 6: The Divine Origins of Philanthropy

Were Christianity to select a single word to describe the breadth and depth of the relationship between God and human beings, it could do worse than “philanthropic”.

In fact, not only is Christ still called Philanthropos—“The Philanthropist”—in the liturgy of the Orthodox Church, but the term actually owes its 5th century B.C.E. Greek origins to a god.

Prometheus is imprisoned by Zeus, the king of the gods, for “philanthropy”—specifically, his deep, personal friendship with human beings. Cries the bound Prometheus, “Look at me, the unlucky god who is chained up for exaggerated affection for the mortal beings”.

The term “philanthropy” originates, thus, not with reference to human acts of beneficence toward humanity but rather with a god’s love of human beings who, it is worth noting, are depicted as incapable of reciprocating anything of value in return.

(Excerpted from my forthcoming book, The Whole Life Offering: Christianity as Philanthropy, scheduled for release in January 2011.)

About Pastor Foley

The Reverend Dr. Eric Foley is CEO and Co-Founder, with his wife Dr. Hyun Sook Foley, of Voice of the Martyrs Korea, supporting the work of persecuted Christians in North Korea and around the world and spreading their discipleship practices worldwide. He is the former International Ambassador for the International Christian Association, the global fellowship of Voice of the Martyrs sister ministries. Pastor Foley is a much sought after speaker, analyst, and project consultant on the North Korean underground church, North Korean defectors, and underground church discipleship. He and Dr. Foley oversee a far-flung staff across Asia that is working to help North Koreans and Christians everywhere grow to fullness in Christ. He earned the Doctor of Management at Case Western Reserve University's Weatherhead School of Management in Cleveland, Ohio.
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